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Family is the main aspect influencing buying behavior teenager by acting as the reference group, creating brand loyalty, taking control of economic situation, shaping children’s lifestyle and modeling children’s personality and self-concept. First and foremost, family acts as the reference group affects teenager’s buying behavior as teenagers tend to follow the perception and buying pattern of the family. Moreover, the family influences the teenager by creating brand loyalty which causes teenager to agree with the brand choices and creates habitual buying behavior. In addition, teenager is affected by the family as it takes control of teenager’s economic situation by manipulating the amount of allowances and controlling the spending power. Furthermore, the family shapes children’s lifestyle through activity, interest and opinion which cause the children to think and live similarly to their spouse. Last but not least, the personality and self-concept of the children is modeled by the family which results in the product choices which suits their personality and the interaction with environment. In conclusion, marketers should target the family, which plays an important role in the future market. Besides that, future research on extends if family in influencing teenager’s buying behavior and the high or low involvement in product should also be carried out.
According to www.wordnetweb.com (2009), the word teenager is being defined as adolescent being of the age 13 through 19 years old. Buying behavior can be defined as purchase decision pattern that is a complex amalgam of needs and desires (www.businessdictionary.com, 2009). Teenagers have become the consumer group with the largest buying power in this era. According to Peter Zollo (2000) of Teen Research Unlimited, there are several reasons which lead to this phenomena. Firstly, teenagers are influential trendsetters as they have significant discretionary spending power. Secondly, in the process of formation for brand loyalties, teenagers are impressionable. Lastly, teenagers are hard to ignore depending in the sheer size of the global teenage population. The family is the most important consumer buying organization in society, and has been researched extensively. As cited by Hogg and Bruce (2003) in the journal article ‘Fashion brand preferences among young consumers’, the social influences exerted by families on children’s decision making and product choice confirmed the findings of the Beatty and Talpade’s (1994) study that there are different perceptions of the influence of children in family decision making. Family is the main aspect influencing buying behavior teenager by acting as the reference group, creating brand loyalty, taking control of economic situation, shaping children’s lifestyle and modeling children’s personality and self-concept.
First and foremost, family influences teenager’s buying behavior by acting as the reference group. Reference group is a term from social psychology identifying that group to which people refer or make reference in evaluating themselves (Kotler, 2008). Reference groups expose a person to new behaviors and lifestyles, influence the person’s attitude and self-concept, and create pressures to conform that may affect the person’s product and brand choice. The group influence tends to be strongest when the product is visible to others whom the buyer respects. As cited by Martin and Bush (2004) in the journal article ‘Do role models influence teenagers’ purchase intention and behavior?’, Moschis (1985) claimed that family influence on consumption patterns and attitudes often overrides any other form of influence. Besides that, teenagers tend to follow family’s perception in terms of economic and social status. The background of family a child being brought up contributed in this situation. A teenager will have a positive perception towards a product if the parents are satisfied with the product. Besides that, Hogg and Bruce (2003) cited that the family influence relates clearly to perception of brands as Hite and Hite (1994) indicated. Reflecting on child development theory it is suggested that children’s behavior is absorbed at very young ages from familial examples (Hite and Hite, 1994). Teenagers may imitate certain buying pattern of the family. For instance, they may purchase the product according to the amount and quantity the family used to make. For example buying the product in bulk, in value pack or individually. They may also follow the buying pattern of the family for example the duration and frequency in using and purchasing a product. An example will be making the purchase of daily product in weekly or monthly basis.
Moreover, family influences the buying behavior of teenagers by creating brand loyalty. In the journal article ‘Fashion brand preferences among young consumers’, Hogg and Bruce (2003) suggested that, if parents repeatedly choose a brand the child perceives it to be “good” hence create a brand loyalty. According to Olsen (1993) and Fournier (1998), some brands may be linked to family memories, which provide an emotional meaning (as cited by Hogg and Bruce, 2003). For example, teenager tends to seek the opinion from family members when making buying decision. They gain confident in purchasing a certain brand or product if the family supports their choices and buying decision. Besides that, repetitive consumption of a brand in the family may generate a habit in the individual that may explain a subsequent loyalty to that brand. Martin and Bush (2004) stated that earlier research by Basow and Howe (1980) found that both fathers and mothers had a more significant influence on young adult career and education objectives than any other group, including peers, teachers, and other adult role models. The family may make frequent purchase of certain brand for example taking the habit of using a certain brand continuously. Teenager may get affected by the habit and continue to use that particular product even after they leave home and have their own family. Specific example for such product will be Maggi’s instant noodle and Top’s detergent. They will also make repetitive purchase at certain location where the family believe is the cheapest or provide the best quality.
In addition, family influences teenager’s buying behavior in terms of economic situation. The amount of allowances being received by every teenager varies across different family. According to Penman and McNeill in the journal article ‘Spending their way to adulthood: consumption outside the nest’, they stated that
“â€¦youth spending habits are likely to be heavily influenced by their experience with money, their upbringing and their perceptions of parental role model behaviour. Interestingly, all of the participants of this study held part-time jobs prior to leaving home for university, and saw this as their primary source of income, closely followed by parental contributions.” (Penman and McNeill, 2008)
Some teenagers are given a huge amount of pocket money which results in overspending thus fails in managing own financial in the future. On the other, for teenagers who receive too little pocket money will tend to be stingy and more cautious in spending. Hood (2004) indicated that a teenager who grew up in a wealthier home with easier access to pop culture images would be more likely to succumb to societal norms than teenagers who grew up in lower household incomes. Besides that, family can controls the spending power of teenager by giving pocket money in a weekly basis rather than monthly basis. By doing so, the cases of overspending at the beginning of the month can be avoided. In ‘Insights for Parents: Teenagers and money’, the author Lawrence Kutner Ph. D. (2005) claimed that children can sense the power and symbolic value of money very fast. They have the ability to abstract and plan for the future spending of their allowances and earnings. As a result, they are encouraged to learn to manage their own money through savings and earning interest.
Another factor of teenager’s buying behavior which is affected by the family will be lifestyle. Lifestyle is a person’s pattern of living as expressed in his or her psychographics. It involves measuring consumers’ AIO (Activities, Interests and Opinions) dimensions (Kotler, 2008). Activities are classified into work, hobbies, shopping, sports and social events. Family affects this by exposing their children to specific activities at a very young age. Besides that, Interests include food, fashion and recreation. Teenager takes up their interest during the process of growing up. Other than that, opinions are all about consumers themselves, social issues, business and products. Teenager’s opinions are being modeled by the family. As a result, teenagers will spent and purchase according to their preference. Besides that, teenagers usually think in a way which is similar to their spouse. They may follow the habits and behavior of their parents in the way of living. In the journal article ‘Do role models influence teenagers’ purchase intention and behavior?’, the author Martin and Bush (2004) pointed out,
“â€¦parents are still the most important influence on teenagers; lifestyle and consumption patterns. It is just that no teenager will ever make such an admission, nor will their parents perceive how much influence they provide.” (Martin and Bush, 2004)
Lifestyle captures something more than the person’s social class or personality, it profiles a person’s whole pattern of acting and interacting in the world. The condition of the family where the teenager is being brought up definitely affects his or her future development.
Furthermore, family has a significant effect in teenager’s buying behavior in terms of self-concept. Self-concept is one’s own perception of own self. According to Kamaruddin (2006), self-concept is formed through the social interaction of an individual with his or her environment. As a result of the interaction with significant people, mainly the family members, the personality and self-concept are formed. The self-concept summarizes the beliefs a person holds about his own attributes and how he evaluates the self on these qualities. (Solomon, 2009) Teenager’s self-esteem is being built up by family through the process of growing up. It refers to the positivity of a person’s self-concept. Teenager tends to make purchase decision depending on their self-esteem. The most significant area will be one’s physical appearance. According to Solomon (2009) in his book Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having and Being, he suggested that female college students tend to compare their physical appearance with models in advertising. For example, a teenager with high self-esteem will be more likely to wear bikini compared to the one with low self esteem. Self-esteem can also be shaped in the family by showing benchmarks of people with self-confidence. According to April Lane Benson, Ph. D,
“Most shopaholics try to counteract feelings of low self-esteem through the emotional lift and momentary euphoria that compulsive buying providesâ€¦ Another group of excessive buyers-less likely than the first group to have the same high degree of comorbidity-buys in the hope of acquiring an identity closer to their ideal.” (Benson, 2007)
Other than that, the family also affects teenager’s perception on self congruence. According to Claiborne and Sirgy (1990), teenagers are found to choose products where their attributes match some aspect of the self. These models assume a process of cognitive matching between product attributes and the consumer’s self image. (as cited by Solomon, 2009) The ideal self is a person’s conception of how he or she would like to be, whereas the actual self refers to our more realistic appraisal of the qualities we have and do not have. According to this theory, teenager will buy product which reveals their actual self and also product which shows the self they want others to perceive them as.
In a nutshell, family plays the role as the main aspect influencing the buying behavior of teenager. This is because family acts as the reference group which guides and gives advices to teenager in making their buying decision. Besides that, teenagers tend to follow the buying pattern of family as family usually creates brand loyalty and habitual buying behavior. The family also controls the amount of allowances given to teenager to constraint their purchasing power. Last but not least, the lifestyle and self concept of a teenager are shaped by the family in the process of growing up. As a result, all these factors explain the important role of family in affecting the future market. Marketers hence should target on the family to take control of the whole consumer market. Future research on extends of family member in influencing teenager’s buying behavior can be done to obtain more detailed information on this aspect. Furthermore, research on the influences of family in high involvement or low involvement product can also be done to acquire more specific results.
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